A former Member of Parliament, Nkrabea Effah-Dartey, has asked the Speaker of Ghana’s parliament to prevail on the British High Commission in Accra to apologise to the House over allegation of visa fraud against some four current and past legislators.
According to him the High Commission has by its letter to the Speaker on the matter, which got leaked, disgraced parliament. “It is a calculated attempt by the British High Commission to tarnish the image of Parliament and Ghana”, he argued on Onua FM’s Ghana Dadwene on Wednesday.
The High Commission in a letter to the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament announced three MPs and a former one have been banned from entering the UK because they abused the privileges of their diplomatic passport. According to the High Commission, they used their diplomatic privileges to help their supposed relatives to secure visas to the UK and they eventually overstayed their visas.
Some parliamentarians have condemned the British High Commissioner for the said letter. Commenting on the matter in a statement, the Former Attorney General, Martin Amidu, argued parliament does not have the jurisdiction the four MPs and that the Speaker ought to have referred the matter to the Police for investigation of a possible crime. READ: Martin Amidu chides Speaker, MPs for ‘insulting’ Jon Benjam However, Mr Effah-Dartey who is also a legal practitioner said though he agrees with the argument by Mr Amidu because the MPs are not above the laws of the land.
“They must respect the law but in this instance, the British High Commission is complaining of their conduct in the past years. It was done at a time when this Parliament had not come into effect” and wondered whether the Speaker of parliament can investigate the matter. The former MP said “the speaker can only set up a committee to investigate the MPs but he cannot punish them. It is the police who have to deal with them and not the speaker”.
Any crime committed? Asked whether the MPs have committed any crime, Mr Effah-Dartey said: “I doubt whether it is criminal offence. The MPs are not to be blamed. If the people did not come, what offence are they [MPs] going to be investigated for”.
He added: “the police cannot intervene in this matter because may be, the person has gotten someone to marry there or the person is sick. You can’t tell. “It is not breach of integrity so I will strongly recommend they [British High Commission] find out what they are doing because they might have been sick or married there” he said.
Can the High Commission be sued?
Mr Effah-Dartey said the four MPs cannot take any legal actions against the British High Commission because “High Commissions are immuned and they cannot be sued.
They can sue the Attorney General and Foreign Affairs Minister for them to discipline the High Commissioner. The High Commissioner should have called the Speaker on the conduct of the MPs and discuss it privately than to put it in the public domain”.